Resto Mod Debate - Revcounter 392

By: Guy Allen

Presented by

holden kingswood holden kingswood

Keep it standard or update? That's the great debate

From Unique Cars #392, September 2016

Some families argue about politics, others over the future of the environment and what we should do about it, while others prefer to tackle the ecomomy and how it affects them. Some even chew over the meaning of life. Us? We’re currently debating whether the old 253 V8 in the Kingswood goes or stays.

Yeah, okay, trivial. But there are serious issues at hand, not least of which is the kids’ inheritance!

Funny thing is that the girls at one stage were a bit embarrassed by the Mighty Kingswood. It was a scruffy old car which wasn’t always a good look. At some point, partner Ms M senior decided to throw some money at the old dear and get it resprayed, then a fresh 253 put in, then a new interior – twice. There’s a fair bit of the proverbial grandfather’s axe going here.

Actually, the most recent interior caused a bit of controversy. We cut loose Chris at Blackmans in Geelong, and the car came back as flash as a rat with a gold tooth. Anything that wasn’t mile-deep leather was done in Alcantra and the whole design was a fair old departure from the original. With a little time Ms M snr and I have got used to it and are very happy with the results.

Not so much the eldest unmarried, who worries that we’ve devalued the car with a non-original interior. I’m not so concerned. It’s a Kingswood for heaven’s sake, not the crown jewels. She’s right to the extent that a dead stock car would probably be worth more.

So you can imagine the flap that’s arisen when I quietly announced I wouldn’t mind updating the powerplant, too. You see we use the car to tow a motorcycle trailer and the auld dear is struggling with the hills, particularly with an Indian and BMW loaded on the rear. I reckon an LS engine would do the job very nicely and I’ve noticed online that Chevrolet is very willing to sell a new one.

I was having a chat recently with young Adam from MPW Performance in sunny Melb, and he reckoned it was possible to slip it in. Of course doubling the horsepower means you might have to attend to a few other small items. Like the transmission and brakes.

Yep, we’re at the top of a long slippery slope and the only question is whether or not to push off. At this stage I’m getting howls of protest from a few quarters, so I’ll let the issue rest a little while. One thought was to quietly go out and get all this stuff done and see how long (if ever!) it takes the critics to notice. Is that unethical?

Of course the other thought was to avoid the confrontation altogether and just go out and buy another Kingswood and start afresh. Not the cheapest way to do it, but probably the path of least resistance.

There’s a lot of appeal in having an updated powertrain, and brakes, to go with the interior – all in a package that still has that old school profile. I know it offends the purists and there is potential for it to go horribly wrong, but a well thought-out resto mod should work. Or have I got this completely wrong? 

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